The Occultation by Beogard

July 20, 2015

This evening, an 11.8 star was to be occulted low in the south in Sagittarius, by the asteroid Beogard. The predicted path was closer to Sacramento, and odds for Cabrillo were only 7%. But, I wanted to also see if I could load the old version of CCDOPS from the WinXP machine and get around the bug I discovered in the new CCDOPS software. We've had the remnants of Hurricane Delores to deal with the past few days - very hot and very muggy and mid-level cloudy. And, by afternoon, I'd pretty much called off our attempt. But then, at 9:30pm, I fired up OccultWatcher and saw there were now 6 other stations announced for this event, and I felt honor-bound to give it a shot even if it was cloudy. I got in the car and drove off the Cabrillo, where in fact the clouds had cleared. Next problem was the star itself, which was behind a tall-ish tree on the ridge at the Hort Center. Turns out 23 degrees is pretty much our southern horizon. But, with 10 minutes to go, it moved to the right of the tree and was visible. I had the PC165DNR mounted on the Orion 80mm finder, and located the target without too much trouble. I got the video recording going. It turns out this is the first event since the June 30 leap second, and so I'd also get to see if it really took 15 full minutes for the updated almanac to download from the GPS satellites. Yup, it pretty much did. And a few minutes before the event, the almanac download was announced on the top of the VTI screen. Now I need to learn how to toggle that off so it doesn't take up valuable screen real estate.

Clouds were gone entirely, and the target, on 32x, was not hard to see. The video screen on the TV monitor updated only about once every 0.8 seconds, so if I'd had more time, I might have gotten more time resolution.

Playback shows a miss. Here's the official IOTA Report

The target star was barely visible on this image, slightly out of focus, and pay no attention to the many black Sharpie marks noting hot pixels. Looks like the PC165dnr needs another noise calibration.

My long time video timing gear box at left, with the ZR45mc to the right, on the table.

To record, I simply unplug the RCA cord from the video switcher and put it into the input for the ZR45mc

Afterwards, I tried some tests - alas, the FocusMax software doesn't work on the new Win7 machine, nor does MaxIm DL. I'll have to sort that out on a later visit.